I dedicate this my first ever BATB story to my friend Deb. Her love, support and guidance, epitomize what this tunnel family is all about. Her steadfastness has walked me through the dark, many times. It is because of her belief in me, and her encouragement to put my love of our show into words, that you are reading the story before you. The words Thank You are not significant enough to tell her how much her friendship means to me. I hope you enjoy my story.

The End of My Aloneness

Cathy Trotta

Providence-Something that is meant to be. Never would those words ring truer than they did on Valentine’s Day 2009. My car had broken down a week earlier, and due to the major weather problems in our area, snowstorms, power outages, I was stuck at home waiting impatiently for my mechanic to call and say the car was finished. Then in stepped Providence. I was flipping through the channels and stumbled upon a Beauty and the Beast marathon that started with the Pilot episode. Remembering how much I loved the show when it originally aired, I started watching just to pass the time. Of course we all know what happened next, I was hooked once again just like I had been in the 80’s. Now instead of wanting my mechanic to call, I kept hoping he wouldn’t so I wouldn’t miss any of the episodes. As it turned out, the weather got worse, my mechanic finished the car very late and ended up bringing it to my house, so I didn’t miss too much of the shows. I sat and enjoyed the rest of the marathon, comparing the differences in my life between the show’s original airings and the episode re-runs.

Since we are all obsessed with the show, it didn’t take long before my obsession reared its head. I did search after search on the internet and was amazed to find all the information, fiction and art that existed for this beloved show. I couldn’t believe that there were so many people still out there who loved the show as I did, and I couldn’t wait to find out more.

I started reading Marina’s BATB page. I didn’t understand some of the terms, so I e-mailed and asked for explanations. She was kind enough to answer my questions, so it made reading the stories easier. I devoured each story, some brought laughter, some tears, and some anger (I’m not a third season gal at all). I followed the links and stared in amazement at the artistic talent of all the people that had contributed drawings, calendars, and other merchandise. I have always wanted to be able to draw (and even took a class, which I didn’t do well in at all), so when I saw the ad for Sandy Tew’s calendar, I knew I had to have one. Again being curious about how she got started I e-mailed her and she answered with her own experiences and recommendations for books on drawing.

Next I found CABB and the Steam Tunnels. As I was reading the stories by Moira Keeley, two really struck me deep to the core. "Courage" and "Out of the Ruined Places." Her definition of romantic love as described by Vincent in "Courage" moved me so much, that I’ve used some of the words as encouragement for my friends, hoping to find love again. I even have a copy of part of the story hanging up next to my computer because of my own romantic loss. You see what some of you don’t know about me is that I lost my long time boyfriend almost four years ago, and his birthday was February 13th. How fortuitous that I found BATB on Valentine’s Day. On CABB, you have the ability to contact the writer and let them know if you like their stories. That’s exactly what I did with Moira. I knew from the first sentence of her reply e-mail that I liked her spirit and hoped one day to get the chance to meet her in person.

Then along came Sons of Anarchy, and although I had never watched the show, once again I was intrigued by Moira’s story, "Dancing in the Moonlight." I wrote to her and let her know that I liked the story, and now she has me hooked on that show as well. We started sharing our life stories and imagine my surprise when she invited me to come with her and a group of fans to meet Linda Hamilton at Comic Con in New York. To say I was stunned was an understatement. I had been planning a trip to Florida that fell through and a friend of mine and I were joking around on the phone one night, reviewing the sights we’d see if we ever got to New York, and here I was with an invitation. Enter Providence once again.

I was involved in a very serious car accident 5 years ago that left me with a lot of residual effects. These effects, while not visible on the outside, wreck havoc with my body on the inside, and have left me disabled. To leave my safe place and take this trip out of my comfort zone was a big step for me in moving on with my life. Thankfully Jeff agreed to be my tour guide and make things easier on me, so I wouldn’t be alone or afraid. He went from being my tour guide to my adopted little brother, and we have a wonderful relationship.

As soon as I saw Moira all my fears fell away. We had a nice chat on the way to the hotel, where I met Jeff and Ildira then on to dinner with Elaine. We went to see "Memphis" my first Broadway show. During intermission there was a bridge that looked like the scene from Masques and we all commented on it at the same time. Comic Con was filled with meeting more new friends and of course the highlight was meeting Linda. I told Moira that I would love to come back to the city and meet with more tunnel family members, if the situation ever presented itself again.

Imagine my shock when a few short weeks later, I got an invitation to have lunch with an Aussie. I just couldn’t believe that I was meeting someone from Australia, it was mind boggling. Jodie is a delight with an infectious giggle. Plans were made and again I was going to see my tunnel family and the bench in Central Park. I also had my first taste of New York pizza which I ate with a fork, much to Moira’s chagrin and we saw "Phantom of the Opera". On Sunday it was off to Central Park, the bench and some of the places that are scenes in the Pilot episode. This trip also included Rosemarie, Rachel, Elaine and Sonia. How wonderful to meet and spend time with more die-hard fans. Too soon it was time to depart, and as I said good bye to everyone but Jeff, I knew that this show would keep us connected forever.

Jeff and I went to the top of The Empire State Building Sunday night. You could almost touch the sky. It brought tears to my eyes to realize all the blessings that have come into my life because of this show.

Of course just reading the fan-fic on line was now just not enough, I wanted hard copies of the stories and any memorabilia I could get my hands on. As the dramatic dip in my bank account shows, I was able to start a fairly large BATB collection of items. The sellers on E-Bay have been wonderful, kind people who also understand the obsession. I’ve become friends with a few of them, one in particular whose friendship has helped me weather more than one storm over the past few months, and to a friendship that I hope lasts forever. Lynda, my eternal gratitude.

I’ve now joined the online discussion groups and at any time I am just a few keystrokes away from anyone anywhere in the world. I plan on coming to San Diego this year, and meeting the faces behind the names.

What a difference a year makes. In my wildest dreams I would never have guessed at all the wonder and surprises this past year has brought to me. How a twist of fate, my car breaking down, bad weather and a chance encounter with a long forgotten TV show, would bring me more happiness than I’ve known in quite a long time. How would I ever have guessed that it would be: THE END OF MY ALONENESS?